Razer quietly removed ‘N95-grade’ from its Zephyr masks' specs

Breaking news: you can't claim "N95-grade" without actual approval from regulatory agencies.

Yikes — gaming company Razer has removed every mention of “N95-grade filters” from the marketing materials for its high-end Zephyr face mask after critics claimed the company had overstated the masks’ protection.

Razer’s previous use of the term “N95” was not cleared by regulatory agencies like the FDA and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Chinese tech YouTuber Naomi Wu was the first to call it fraudulent and, back in November, she posted a video criticizing Razer Zephyr’s “deceptive marketing.” “I’m really not happy about this ‘N95-grade’ business,” she says in the review.

As noted by PCMag, the company did not publicize its decision to scrub its website of references to its filters’ “N95-grade” status but quietly added a notice that the product is not PPE:

Please observe your local safety regulations and mask guidelines or consult your local public health authorities for potential usability of these products under applicable law. The Razer Zephyr and Zephyr Pro are not certified N95 masks, medical devices, respirators, surgical masks, or personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not meant to be used in medical or clinical settings. These products are intended to be used only with Razer Zephyr Filters.

What N95 means — The name indicates “not resistant to oil” and “filters out 95 percent of airborne particles.” The N95 label applies to an entire mask, not just a part of it, and it is granted by the NIOSH. Unapproved “N95” products end up on the NIOSH official list of counterfeits.

Razer claims it “took guidance from regulatory agencies” to develop its testing protocol, which is blatantly different from gaining approval from said regulatory agencies.

So... what exactly is this mask, then? — Initially known as Project Hazel, Razer’s maximalist cyberpunk “wearable air purifier” was released in the fall of 2021 for $99.99 (if you want to buy a “starter pack” with refill packs to last you 99 days, you’ll have to shell out $149.99). Complete with wireless charging, Bluetooth, and a built-in UV sterilizer, the mask has been touted as the “world’s smartest face mask.”

At CES 2022, the gaming behemoth announced an updated version called “Zephyr Pro” that would have a voice amplifier — a feature that had been desired by many customers (and was suggested in Input’s own Zephyr mask review).